Learning Without Trying

A couple of weeks ago I wrote about my first spinning lesson and how my teacher has a theory that dancers find it easier to learn because they’re use to making complicated movements with their feet at the same time as with their hands. Being a complete klutz at dancing, I hadn’t expected to be a very quick learner, but in the event I turned out not to be too bad.


When I put some thought into why this was, I concluded it was probably because I’m used to cycling and peddling is similar to treadling. However, I’m not sure that’s the whole story.

Last week I was thinking about designing a fair isle pattern, so I flicked through some stitchonaries while riding my indoor bike. Within about ten minutes I’d worked out what I wanted to do.

Turbo Trainer

Normally I’d read a novel while I’m cycling, but working out the fair isle before I even got in the shower made me feel I’d caught a steal on the day and I wondered what else I could do. Two years ago, when I started cycling indoors, I tried to knit and cycle, but it slowed my peddling Β so much it wasn’t worth doing. Two years on, remembering my spinning success, I decided to give it another go.

This time around it was easy to cycle at speed, and in the last couple of days I’ve knitted a whole Santa sack while cycling.


My guess is that two years of reading while cycling has trained my legs to keep peddling while I think about other stuff. In turn this has made learning to spin a little easier and learning to spin, has improved my ability to coordinate my hands and feet separately. This feels very satisfying and was a great reminder of the importance of stretching myself to learn new things and that learning something new is rarely just about learning that new thing πŸ™‚


12 thoughts on “Learning Without Trying

  1. Oh I so agree with you Becki – practise something long enough and amazing things start to happen – just as you have proven to yourself. The trick being I think that you layer things up slowly – like the patting and rubbing of heads and tummies – start doing the one, add in the other and ‘Voila!’ as they say across your ditch…… Next thing – you’ll be peddling and spinning πŸ™‚ maybe a drop spindle needs to be acquired in readiness?


  2. Talk about multi-tasking!! That really is an achievement. I need to try and see if I can do some mindless crochet while cycling! I can already picture the tangled mess that I’d end up with from the cycling my hands would also be doing πŸ˜€


  3. I can’t even keep the rhythm going on a treadle sewing machine so there’d be no hope for me at the spinning wheel although, strangely, I’m quite good at dancing or at least I used to be.


  4. Wow how productive. This is probably the only way I’d not get bored when trying to use an indoor bike, but I’m not sure my coordination would be good enough

    Liked by 1 person

    1. If you ever see it as good plan, don’t let the coordination thing put you off. My experience has proved you get better – just build up slowly. And BTW I was so uninterested in doing it, it took me a year to get the turbo trainer out of the box after I bought it πŸ™‚

      Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you. Although it was chain of events that fortuitously took me there, so praise for doing it not really deserved. And your comment has made me think I also could analyse few more – might be an especially good time since I feel I’m at a bit of a cross roads now I don’t have my boy with me anymore.

      Liked by 1 person

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